HP420      Half Unit
Health Economics

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Andrew Street COW 3.03


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Health Policy. This course is available on the MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

In allocating places in this course, students enrolled in the MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics) have priority. Any remaining places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Course content

This course develops basic economic concepts as they are applied to the health sector. We shall discuss economics issues at system-level, including options for financing health care, predicting future expenditure, and assessing the degree of health equity and equality. We shall consider demand for health care and for health insurance, discussing matters such as moral hazard, adverse selection and risky health behaviours. Then we shall turn to the supply-side of health care provision, considering the agency relationship between patients and physicians, the competitiveness of health care markets, the geographical configuration of health care services, and methods for paying health care providers. The course is designed to provide an intuitive understanding of a wide range of economic concepts, illustrated by practical examples.


15 hours of lectures and 18 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Five x 2hr optional evening lectures in first half of MT for students with no background in economics.

Formative coursework

In-class mock exam in the MT.

Indicative reading

The course draws from a variety of textbooks and articles, with a thorough reading list provided prior to the lectures. The course makes repeated use of the following textbook:

J Bhattacharya, T Hyde & P Tu, Health Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.



Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 18.5
Merit 62.6
Pass 15.5
Fail 3.4

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2018/19: 87

Average class size 2018/19: 17

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills